Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

SECTION II.

ALL THE PASSAGES IN WHICH HADES OCCURS, CON-
SIDERED.

WE have seen that the word Sheol in the Old Tes tament, rendered pit, grave, and hell, in the common version, was not used by the sacred writers, to express a place of endless misery. This we have attempted to establish, not only by an enumeration of all the texts where it occurs, but by a number of facts and observations, which on most subjects would be deemed conclusive. We have also adduced the testimony of Dr. Campbell, and other critics, that this is not, in a single instance, the sense of the word Sheol in the Old Testament.

It is allowed by consent of all critics and commentators, that I have ever seen, that Hades is the corresponding word in the New Testament, to Sheol in the Old; and that both words are used by the inspired writers to express the same thing. Indeed, the slightest attention to this subject, must convince any candid person of the correctness of this statement. In neither Testaments is a place of endless misery expressed by these words. I might then take it for granted, that Hades does not refer to such a place of punishment, any more than Sheol, and save myself the labour of the following investigation about it. But I shall proceed to examine all the places where Hades is used in the New Testament, because some texts in which it occurs, are still considered by many people, as teaching the doctrine of eternal misery. I am truly sorry to add that even some preachers, who certainly

ought to know better, still continue to quote such texts in proof of the doctrine. My labour therefore, though altogether unnecessary, may not be altogether unprofitable, in showing, that this word was not so used by the New Testament writers.

I find then, that the word Hades, is only used eleven times in the New Testament. It is rendered in the common version once grave, and in all the other ten places by the word hell. The place in which it is rendered grave is, 1 Cor. xv. 55,-"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" This is a quotation from Hosea xiii. 14. which has been noticed already under the word Sheol. In addition to the remarks there made, I would add the following here on this passage, as quoted by the apostle. Notice then,

1st, That our translators, put hell in the margin for grave in the text. This, with other instances noticed under Sheol, show that they used hell and grave for the state of the dead, and not for a place of endless misery.

2d, By comparing this text with the place from which it is quoted, it is evident that the apostle and the prophet both use this language to show, that Sheol, Hades, or hell, shall not always have dominion over the dead. Death is to be swallowed up in victory, and the place expressed by these words, be destroyed, or be no more. This victory is to be obtained through our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and incorruption to light by his resurrection from the dead. Nothing can be more obvious, than, that the apostle, in the chapter where he quotes this passage, is not speaking on the subject of endless misery, but is treating of the resurrection. It is a plain case, that if any one will contend, that Hades in this passage signifies such a place of misery, final victory is to be obtained over it; for

[ocr errors]

it is triumphantly asked,-"O Hades or hell, or, O place of endless misery where is thy victory ?"

3d, As the apostle in this chapter, was professedly treating on the subject of the resurrection, did Hades or any other word express a place of endless misery, it was the most proper occasion to introduce it. Dr. Campbell, and others I might name, contend for Gehenna, and, that to this place the wicked go after the resurrection. But, neither here, nor any where else, is a word said about Sheol, Hades, Tartarus, nor even Gehenna, being a place of endless misery after this period. If any of these words are used to express a place of punishment after the resurrection of the dead it has escaped my notice, and I should be glad to see this pointed out.

4th, It is a question which is certainly not very impertinent for me to put,-"Why did the translators of the common version translate the word Hades here grave, and in all the other ten places render the same word by the term hell?" To have rendered the word Hades here hell, we must have been plainly told that hell would not be always victorious, but would finally be destroyed. This, according to the usual sense of the word, would have been doing away the doctrine of endless misery for the wicked. To avoid this, it is rendered grave, and the word hell inserted in the margin. But Hades here might have been rendered hell, with just as much propriety as it is in other places; for in whatever way it is translated, the text and context must decide its sense, and here very evidently decide, that a place of endless misery could not be meant.

Acts ii. 27, 31. comes next to be considered-"because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. He seeing this before, spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did

see corruption." This is a quotation from Psalm xvi. 10. which has also been considered already under the word Sheol. It is quoted here as a prediction concerning the Messiah; not to prove that his soul should not be left in the place of endless misery, but that he should not continue in the state of the dead. This is so obvious, that all remarks are unnecessary. But, I shall here introduce the following quotation from Whitby, as it sheds general light on all the texts in which the words Sheol and Hades occur. On this passage he thus writes:-" that Sheol throughout the Old Testament, and Hades in the Septuagint, answering to it, signify not the place of punishment, or of the souls of bad men only, but the grave only, or the place of death, appears,

"1st, From the root of it Shaal, which signifies to ask, to crave, and require, because it craves for all men, Prov. xxx. 16. and will let no man escape its hands. Psalm lxxxix. 48. It is that Sheol or Hades whither we are all going. Eccles. ix. 10.

"2d, Because it is the place to which the good as well as the bad go, for they whose souls go upwards, descend into it. Thither went Jacob, Gen. xxxvii. 35. There Job desired to be, chap. xiv. 13. for he knew that Sheol was his house, chap. xvii. 13. And to descend into the dust was to descend into Hades. Is not death common to all men? Is not Hades the house of all men? Hezekiah expected to be there after he went hence, for he said, I shall go to the gates of Hades,' Isai. xxxviii. 30. That is, saith Jerom, to those gates of which the Psalmist speaks, saying, 'thou wilt lift me up from the gates of death.' The ancient Greeks assigned one Hades to all that died, and therefore say, Hades receives all mortal men together, all men shall go to Hades.

"3d, Had the penmen of the Old Testament meant by Hades any receptacle of souls, they could not

truly have declared there was no wisdom or knowledge in Sheol, Eccles. ix. 10. No remembrance of God there, Psalm vi. 5. No praising of him in Sheol, Isai. xxxviii. 18. For those heathens who looked upon it as the receptacle of souls, held it to be a place in which they would be punished or rewarded." This quotation from Whitby affords a number of remarks, a few of which we shall only briefly notice. It is evident from it,

1st, That Sheol and Hades are one and the same place. Our English word hell only expressed originally the same idea as these two words.

2d, It is asserted, yea, proved in the above quotation, that by Sheol, the Old Testament writers could not mean any receptacle of souls, or they never could have spoken as they did about it.

3d, That those heathens who looked on it as a receptacle of souls, held it to be a place in which they should be punished or rewarded. If Whitby is then correct in these statements, it is very evident, that we are indebted to the heathen and not to the inspired writers for the idea, that Sheol, Hades, or hell, is a place of future misery. This we shall show more fully, Section 3d, to have been a notion which the Jews derived from their intercourse with the heathen.

Luke xvi. 23. we shall now attempt to consider."And in hell he lifted up his eyes being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom." See the whole of this parable, which I need not transcribe. Here it is said, is not only a place of torment mentioned, but a person there is said to be lifting up his eyes in it, and declaring, that he is "tormented in this flame."-It is frankly admitted, that this. looks very plausible in establishing a place of misery. Plausible as its appearance is, we think this parable must be given up as teaching the doctrine of endless misery in a future state. With a view to show this, I

« PreviousContinue »